More CEOs and heads of HR are coming to the full realization that a thriving work culture drives engagement, innovation, and high performance.

Yet culture doesn't just happen. It takes strong, visionary leaders to create an environment to empower teams to reach their potential. 

Here's what they frequently give to their employees, which most managers often don't:

1. Their listening ears

Leaders who check hubris at the door and listen authentically to the needs of employees will build the most powerful value creator on the planet: trust. When trust is actively given as a gift and reinforced in company values and rituals, the message coming across to employees is that they're seen as important and part of the family.

2. Empathy

People are drawn to empathy. It's an attractive quality to have in building successful relationships at work. A leader displaying empathy will foster strong personal relationships and promote productive collaboration. They'll think about their team's circumstances, understand their challenges and frustrations, and know that those emotions are every bit as real as their own. This helps develop perspective and opens team members to helping one another.

3. Space to recharge

Leaders who care about their employees' productivity will not tolerate a culture of overwork that can potentially burn them out. They safeguard the employee experience with work-life balance priorities reinforced daily. To recharge, leaders can reinforce cultural activities like practicing mindful meditation, having walking meetings in nature, and infusing fun, laughter, and humor into the work community.

4. Open communication

Good leaders inform their employees when there are changes taking place. They tell them as much as they can, as soon as they can, to avoid disengagement and low morale. They give employees the pros and cons of a new strategy and don't hold back and deliver unpleasant surprises later. When the chips are down, they reassure their employees by giving them the facts and how they fit into the big picture. They never stop asking for input and how employees are feeling about things. Finally, they deliver bad news diplomatically and tactfully, choosing the timing and approach well.

5. Shared power

Studies indicate that when leaders focus more on their employees than on themselves, caring and providing for their needs, workers show up more inspired and with greater dedication to their work, which increases productivity. In workplaces free of favoritism and light on politics, managers care less about status and rank and more about sharing their power and even decision-making. They'll get down in the trenches and work alongside their tribe daily, connecting to them on a personal level.